You can probably think of a million things to do with $1 million — buy your dream home or shop for clothes around the world. Riches can certainly eliminate some of your day-to-day financial worries or temporarily tickle your wildest fancy. But beware, because there’s a dark side to wealth you don’t see.
Click through and learn the harsh realities of wealth.
You Might Get Sued
You don’t need to be rich to be sued by someone, but your odds of getting hit with ridiculous lawsuits can increase once you become a millionaire. If it’s known that you’re wealthy, some vindictive people might use any opportunity to get a piece of the pie — even if it means filing baseless, frivolous lawsuits against you.
Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, understands this reality firsthand. “The one thing that really surprised me was with wealth comes lawsuits,” he said. “It was just amazing to me that because I had wealth and a prominent business that I was a magnet for lawsuits of all kinds. It’s [not fun] for a stranger to pop out of the bushes and say you have been served.”
You Can’t Trust Anybody
Whether you’re a hard worker running an empire or you came into wealth through an inheritance, you might hire a team to help manage your money. You should seek the most qualified candidates, as well as those who have a reputation for being trustworthy.
Don’t rush the process. Do your research, which should include a background and criminal history check. Most importantly, follow your instinct. Sometimes, the people you should be able to trust are the least reliable.
You Attract Fake Friends
Being a millionaire doesn’t mean distrusting everyone who offers a smile, but you have to be on the lookout for fake friends — people who only come around when they need something. Lending money to family and friends is almost always a bad idea.
“Money, success and riches can cause people to flock to you, yet everyone’s motives are not the same,” said Chantay Bridges, a speaker, writer and realtor with TruLine Realty in Los Angeles. “There are individuals that will come only for what they can get from you, not with a pure or true heart to be your friend.”
You Deal With Haters
On the other end of the spectrum, you might also deal with people who dislike you for the simple fact that you’re a millionaire. It doesn’t matter that you’re a kind person who treats everyone with respect — some people won’t be able to get past their own insecurities and jealousy.
You might be sensing their envy frequently — a surprising number of people believe they will become millionaires. You’ll deal with their negative comments, and you might have to face negative stereotypes, such as some people perceiving you as greedy or ruthless. This could be the furthest thing from the truth, but it doesn’t matter. Some people will dislike you just because they can.
You Get ‘Money Guilt’
Dealing with feelings of money guilt is a downside of being a millionaire. Even if you sympathize with the struggles faced by others, you might have trouble empathizing with them.
Unlike some of your friends, you might no longer worry about the cost of healthcare or stress about how you’ll pay for your kids’ college education. Because of this, you could feel a twinge of guilt and make it your aim to give large sums to your favorite charities and help those with a legitimate need.
You Owe More in Taxes
The more money you earn, the more you’ll owe on income taxes. You might need an accountant to determine how much you owe the federal and state governments, but you should mentally prepare for a higher tax bill.
Do your research to master the secret strategies that help rich people save money on taxes.
You Are Pressured Into Luxury
Being wealthy can mean becoming accustomed to a certain way of life. This presents a new challenge — the pressure to maintain this lifestyle.
Some millionaires are more insecure and conscious about how their wealth compares to that of peers, according to a 2015 survey by UBS Investor Watch. Additionally, the survey found that some millionaires — despite having impressive net worths — are never satisfied and continually strive for more riches.
You Miss the Good Times
Becoming a millionaire takes an exceptional amount of hard work and dedication in most cases. And that will mean a lot of late nights, weekends, and vacations working. All of this constant work means that your relationships might suffer, and you might even put off making a family of your own because you feel like you don’t have the time.
You’re Seen as Greedy
It’s a sad but true fact that many people view the wealthy as inherently greedy or selfish. You might find that many people judge you without actually knowing you, and even if you are the kindest soul around, they might peg you for a selfish miser.
You Are Misunderstood
If you spend some of your wealth on acquiring the nice things that money can buy — clothing, bags, boats, homes — you might find others judging you for being materialistic, or even accusing you of being flashy. Tangible demonstrations of success might only serve to remind people of what they don’t have, which might cause them to resent you no matter what else you do.
You Don’t Relate to People
Because most people are not wealthy, it is easy to begin to be cut off from the rest of society once you have reached a certain income level. You might find yourself participating in activities that require a certain income threshold to be met, and this can further serve to cut you off from the wider world. You might look up one day and realize your circle is very small.
Success 101: How to Get Rich in 9 Simple Steps
You Don’t Get Sympathy
Some people might think that money is the key to happiness and the answer to all problems and might be unwilling to listen to you talk about your problems because they do not believe you really can have any issues now that you’re wealthy. It can be very isolating to realize that your robust support network isn’t one any longer.
You’re Expected to Pay Tabs
You probably didn’t become wealthy by treating money casually, but now that you have money, some friends and acquaintances might think that you should cover all of their expenses just because you technically can. The weight of these expectations can be hard to bear, and might leave you feeling drained and used.
You Get Addicted to Money
Just like any other addiction, an addiction to making money might come to run your life. You might find yourself caught in a never-ending game to try and make yet more money, leading to an endless cycle of re-set expectation and disappointment, unable to see that more money isn’t making you happier.
You Spoil Your Kids
It took you working extremely hard to get where you are financially, but your children might not have the same attitude if they grow up with an abundance of money. Instill good financial sense in your children by setting a reasonable limit of money they can access, and by requiring them to work when they reach the appropriate age.
Check Out: 11 Secrets Every Rich Person Knows
You Fail to Buy Love
If you’re feeling alone or low, money might offer you an easy way to go out and try and buy friends or status symbols you think will lead to an increase in self-esteem. These efforts are highly unlikely to be successful and generate a need to keep spending to assuage feelings that won’t go away no matter how rich you are.
You Lose Sense of Direction
If making money has been the dominant goal of your life, you might find yourself at a crossroads without knowing where to go once you achieve that goal. It can be scary and confusing to realize that you’re not sure what exactly to do with the financial security you have worked for.
You Now Compare Yourself to Other Millionaires
When millionaires become millionaires, the competitive instincts and relentlessness that often leads to their success might mean that their only new goal is to become a billionaire. It’s good to have goals, but the constant comparisons with the people out there who will always have more money than you can sap your happiness and energy.
You Don’t Buy Happiness
Although money can change much about your external life, it doesn’t tend to do quite as much for your internal life as you might hope.
“Happy people are often still happy when they become millionaires.” wrote CEO of xqiz.it, Cameron Purdy, in a Quora post. “Unhappy people are often still unhappy when they become millionaires.”
You Demotivate Your Kids
If you raise your children to be aware of the privileges they have had by virtue of their wealth, they might come to believe that nothing that they achieve in life they truly achieved by themselves. A sense of perspective is good, but it can also hurt children who might never feel able to step out of a successful parent’s shadow.
Your Standards Get Higher
When you aren’t worth a lot, you might have to take what you can get in just about everything — homes, clothing, food, vacations. But when you suddenly have lots of disposable income, you might become obsessed with obtaining the best of the best, which can be much more stressful to monitor than you realize.
You Become Materialistic
Money might not always change people for the better. If people with low self-esteem come into money, they might become incredibly materialistic as a way to try and bolster their self-perception.
If this sounds like you, be careful that you don’t become someone the old you wouldn’t have wanted to know or be friends with.
You Manage More
Not only will you need to hire people who can properly track and take care of your money, you might also need people to manage and care for the things you buy with your money, whether that’s a country house or just a nice cashmere sweater.
You Become a Fraud Target
You might not have been much of a target before you became wealthy, but now that you have a high net worth, there might be more people who have a vested interest in pretending to be you so they can take out money in your name. You should be on guard against people going in for a piece of what isn’t theirs.
You Question Romance
If you are unmarried, you might find yourself wondering if potential partners are really interested in you or if they are just interested in your bank balance. Dating can be enough of a minefield without constantly wondering if people are even interested in the real you, or would still like you if you lost all of your money.
You Take Power Trips
When you become super wealthy, you might feel as though you have a certain power over anyone who does not have the same amount of money. This power dynamic might be an unwelcome introduction into relationships you have maintained for a long time.
Your Pockets Will Be Burning
Once you have made your own wealth, you might feel a tremendous pressure to do something big commensurate with how much money you now have. You might feel internal or external pressure to use your wealth to impact society positively, and this might be incredibly taxing for you.
You Have a Blurry Moral Compass
Although you might think you are the most moral person around, there are studies showing that the wealthy are more likely to act in ways that harm other people.
“As you move up the class ladder, you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others,” University of California, Berkeley Psychologist Dacher Keltner said in an interview in The New Republic.
Click here to learn more about what it’s like to be loaded.
GOBankingRates staff contributed to the reporting for this article.
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